Masooma's Story

Masooma is a thirty-year-old mother of four is a resident of Daikundi province in the central highlands of Afghanistan. Like many rural women of Afghanistan, she lived in abject poverty. She has some basic education where she could read and write, working as a teacher in the local school she barley earned $100 a month, which was not enough for all the family needs.

Masooma’s problems were further compounded due to her husband’s drug addiction. Most of her income was taken by her husband which did not leave much beyond a meager meal for her and her children. Consequently, the four children were unable to attend school. Masooma was helpless and even decided to leave her husband.

Then she found out about Oxfam`s Gender Action Learning System (GALs) training in their community. Masooma was so desperate to change her situation, she was ready to do anything. The five-day training helped her in examining her own life and changed the way she approached her life. The training taught her how to set up goals for her life and taught her to test her own capabilities and discover her own capacity for change. She learned that women have the capacity to contribute to bringing about positive changes in their own lives and the lives of their families.

 “I attended this training, it totally changed my mind. I started believing in the ability that I have as a woman. I learned that running away from the problem is not the solution but fighting against problem would surely take you to the solution.”  –Said Masooma.

After finishing this training, Masooma had new-found strength and realized that she does not have to wait for life to unfold. She now had the courage to act to change her own life. She decided not to leave her husband but convinced him to seek help and encouraged him to join a detox program in the local hospital. This was not an easy road for her, but she persevered and stood by her husband while he went through the treatment.

After the program she encouraged her husband to attend a six-month car mechanic training, conducted by Oxfam in Daikundi. He finished his training and is working as a mechanic in a local shop. Its’ been a year since the husband has been drug free and a contributor in the family finances and in raising her children. This transformation has resulted the household that has enough income to educate her four boys and have some stability in her life as well.

Today Masooma not only runs a happy household and works as a teacher, she is also the member of her village Community Development Council, where she volunteers to help other women.